Sony: PSN up this week, user compensation to be offered

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What’s the latest in the on-going PlayStation Network outage saga?

PlayStation Network Logo Following a press conference held by Sony in Tokyo today, Sony Computer Entertainment (SCE) has announced plans to bring the PlayStation Network and Qriocity services back online in a series of stages this week (as revealed), by region, beginning with gaming, music and video services.

SCE also revealed the first initial steps the company will be taking to enhance network security in order to avoid similar “criminal cyber-attack[s] on the company’s data-center located in San Diego, California, U.S.A.,” while a “customer appreciation program” was announced in an attempt to compensate users for the downtime, and to “thank its customers for their patience and loyalty.”

Here are the initial stages in which SCE will bring PlayStation Network online:

  • Restoration of Online game-play across the PlayStation 3 (PS3) and PSP (PlayStation Portable) systems
    • This includes titles requiring online verification and downloaded games
  • Access to Music Unlimited powered by Qriocity for PS3/PSP for existing subscribers
  • Access to account management and password reset
  • Access to download un-expired Movie Rentals on PS3, PSP and MediaGo
  • PlayStation Home
  • Friends List
  • Chat Functionality

And here are those additional security measures that the PlayStation Network will be imbued with:

  • automated software monitoring and configuration management to help defend against new attacks
  • Enhanced levels of data protection and encryption
  • Enhanced ability to detect software intrusions within the network, unauthorized access and unusual activity patterns
  • Additional firewalls

In addition, a press release revealed that SCE is also “creating the position of Chief Information Security Officer, directly reporting to Shinji Hasejima, Chief Information Officer of Sony Corporation, to add a new position of expertise in and accountability for customer data protection and supplement existing information security personnel.”

Who would ever apply for (or even take) that job?

And just to make sure, SCE will be moving the system from San Diego to a new data centre “that has been under construction and development for several months” (a plan the company says was already in place).

Lastly, SCE will be releasing a new, forced system updated that will require all registered PlayStation Network users to change their account passwords ‒ you won’t be able to sign into the service if you don’t take this step.

“As an added layer of security,” reads the release, “that password can only be changed on the same PS3 in which that account was activated, or through validated email confirmation, a critical step to help further protect customer data.”

What about the compensation programme to be offered to PlayStation Network users affected by the downtime? Here’s the plan:

“[SCE] will: rollout the PlayStation Network and Qriocity ‘Welcome Back’ program, to be offered worldwide, which will be tailored to specific markets to provide our consumers with a selection of service options and premium content as an expression of the company’s appreciation for their patience, support and continued loyalty.

  • Each territory will be offering selected PlayStation entertainment content for free download. Specific details of this content will be announced in each region soon.
  • All existing PlayStation Network customers will be provided with 30 days free membership in the PlayStation Plus premium service. Current members of PlayStation Plus will receive 30 days free service.
  • Music Unlimited powered by Qriocity subscribers (in countries where the service is available) will receive 30 days free service.

“Additional ‘Welcome Back’ entertainment and service offerings will be rolled out over the coming weeks as the company returns the PlayStation Network and Qriocity services to the quality standard users have grown to enjoy and strive to exceed those exceptions.”

As for the supposed theft of credit card information from PlayStation Network users during the criminal attack, SCE claims that “there is no evidence at this time that credit card data was taken” but it will help its customers “protect their personal data and will provide a complimentary offering to assist users in enrolling in identity theft protection services and/or similar programs. The implementation will be at a local level and further details will be made available shortly in each region.”

And if all of that wasn’t enough, here’s a mea culpa (of sorts) from Executive Deputy President of the Sony Corporation, and overall SCE chief, Kazuo Hirai:

“This criminal act against our network had a significant impact not only on our consumers, but our entire industry. These illegal attacks obviously highlight the widespread problem with cyber-security.

“We take the security of our consumers’ information very seriously and are committed to helping our consumers protect their personal data. In addition, the organization has worked around the clock to bring these services back online, and are doing so only after we had verified increased levels of security across our networks.

“Our global audience of PlayStation Network and Qriocity consumers was disrupted. We have learned lessons along the way about the valued relationship with our consumers, and to that end, we will be launching a customer appreciation program for registered consumers as a way of expressing our gratitude for their loyalty during this network downtime, as we work even harder to restore and regain their trust in us and our services.”

Source: US PlayStation Blog

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